Governor Corbett and unConstitutional GOP Policies wastes time and money.

              Another of Governor Corbett’s landmark policies was determined by the Commonwealth Court to violate the Pennsylvania State Constitution. His Human Services Block Grant Program got hit this time. Ths 2012 program, was said to give counties flexibility to spend Human Services funds where they most needed them. There was also another 10% slashed from their budgets.

Apperently it was so flexible in its interpretation of State Law that it went outside the bounds of the Constitution. Court reviews of laws presented by Governor Corbett and the Republican party are quite normal over the last 2 years. The Voter I.D., Act 13, stripped municipalities of the ability to establish their own zoning regulations. The elimination of the Adult Basic Health Care Program. It provided Health Care for working Pennsylvanians and partially paid for tabacco settlement funds. Republicans first attempts at reapportionment were all found unConstitutional.

Governor Corbett’s lawsuit against the NCAA was dismissed. His plan to privatize the Pennsylvania state lottery was rejected by the attorney general. The truth is the laws Governor Corbett is trying to pass are a waste if taxpayer money. The Governor’s office has spent almost $3 million on consulting firms for the lottery alone. If House Republicans would allow fair debate in the House these expenses could be avoided. During both the Act 13 and Voter I.D. debates, Democrats brought up the issue of Constitutionality only to be rebuked.

If Corbett’s liquor privatization and pension schemes get signed they will likely see court. Governor Corbett, just like Republicans nationwide care little for what the people want. It seems as if the Constitution only matters if it works in their favor and if not they stomp all over it. It is just a matter of time before they overwhelm the people and we are governed by the Koch Brothers.

Pennsylvania Voter I.D. Law is going on trial.

                  Pennsylvania’s long side lined Voter I.D. Law is going to court to determine its Constitutionality. Critics who say the Law violates voters’ rights convinced a Judge to bar enforcement during the 2012 election. The Law requires voters to show a photo I.D., which if is paid for becomes a voter toll. The Judge issued temporary orders based on a narrower context. The trial is set for July 15 in the Commonwealth Court to determine if the Law is Constitutionally legal.

It most certainly will take a long time for there to be an outcome. Lawyers in the case say Commonwealth Court Judges most likely wilk weigh in after the trial. Both sides expect the loser to appeal to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. If the state prevails voters in Pennsylvania will be forced to present a photo I.D. before casting a ballot. If the Law is overturned voters will see little change at the polls.

The Plaintiffs lawyers – the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, the ACLU of Pa., the Advancement Project and the Washington D.C. Law firm of Arnold and Porter- have asked the court to bar enforcement of the law until the case is fully resolved. The states legal team of includes lawyers from the Attorney General’s office, Governor Tom Corbett’s Office of General Counsel and the private law firm of Drinker, Biddle and Reath LLP.

The Law approved by Republicans who controlled the legislature and signed by a Republican governor has created quite an issue among voters and Democrats. Republicans in the State Legislature said that thus law wouod ensurs Republican victories in future elections. If the Voter Photo I.D. has to be paid for it violates the U.S. Constitution. You cannot make a citizen pay to vote and impede them from voting in any way.

Republicans realize they cannot win elections with theur current ideology and their obstructionist ways. They use gerrymandering, which is illegal, and Voter Restriction Laws to force their way into office. Rather than adjusting to what the People want they are trying to force their ideals down our throat. From Gun Control to Prayer in School they are misinterpreting and stomping all over the Constitution, with help from lobbyist and groups like ALEC. Voting to choose our leaders is the foundation of American Democracy, the Republican party doesn’t have a right to take that away because they don’t like President Obama. Put your ideology in line with the people and your chances of winning improve exponentially.

Governor Corbett blames high unemployment numbers in Pa. on jobless using drugs.

                    Governor Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania explains away poor job numbers, saying that most unemployed are on drugs. He is battling an uphill battle trying to keep his post as governor. He has a negative job approval rating and the states slow economic recovery are both working against him. The states unemployment rate dropped to 7.9%, but the number of people working in Pa. tumbled about 14,000 employees in March, following a drop of 6,000 in February. Private job creations has remained flat for over a year, growing by 1,000 jobs and leaving the state ranked 49th in the country in job creations.

              In trying to explain away Pennsylvania’s less than stellar jobs performance, he argued that the state gained 111,000 private sector jobs, since he took office. He insists Pennsylvania is doing better than other states on his watch. He grew defensive when interviewed and complained that a lot of bussineses are having trouble filling job openings because many Pennsylvanians use illegal drugs.

               A Quinnipac University Polling Institute Poll released recently found Corbett trailing potential Democratic opponents by at least 9 percentage points. His approval rating has been in steady decline. He has been linked directly to several scandals and many of his ideas have been met with cynicism because of his overly friendly relationship with the Natural Gas Drilling Industry. His aattempts to alter the state pension funds have been called unconstitutional and have been held up. His cuts to education have been well documented, as well as the fact he has received over $1 million from Natural Gas Drillers since becoming governor.

       Earlier this year a Pennsylvania state senator introduced a bill requiring drug testing of all recipients and applicants for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in Pa. The state is currently conducting a pilot program. 19 counties across the Commonwealth have started testing only those who have been convicted of felony drug offenses.

               This isn’t the first time Governor Corbett has attacked the jobless. During the 2010 gubernatorial campaign, he said many jobless are just going to sit there and not seek work until their unemployment benefits run out. It also worth noting that since Corbett took over as governor, Pennsylvania’s record on jobs has deteriorated. In 2011 the year Corbett took office, just 1.8% of workers in Federally regulated industries failed drug tests. Typical of a Republican to bland the people for his failings.

            Pennsylvania has been torn under Governor Corbett. Republicans and Democrats are in constant state of disagreement. Of the 100 people I have asked, I know alot of people who hate President Obama, 83 of them said they are unhappy with Corbett and will vote for someone else. It is not the most sophisticated poll, but it does show a small concensus about his performance. I guess he is not called One Term Tommy because he will be reelected.

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Govener Tom Corbett is closing out of 60 State Health Centers.

                 Governor Tom Corbett administration is being sued by a union representing state employed health care workers. 5 Democrat lawmakers also filed a suit against the administration. The SEIU says Corbetts plan violates a 1996 state law as well as a provision of the State Constitution barring the government from suspending laws enacted by the legislature. The SEIU further contends that only the legislature can approve such closings. They also say that Corbetts proposal to reduce state funding for the centers in the 2013-2014 budget has yet to be approved by lawmakers.

                 The Corbett administration has a 2 phase plan to close 26 state health centers out of a total 60 statewide. This would also eliminate 73 nursing jobs. The nurses monitor local health data, track trends and investigate first hand accounts in the field. They have also been credited with several health crisis throughout the state. They contained the nations largest Hepatitis A outbreak that claimed 3 lives and over 650 confirmed cases by immunizing 9,500 people; prevented the spread of Hepatitis A outbreak amongst 30 kinderdarteners, discovering the rise in infant deaths and educating new parents to prevent it; organizing a dental clinic in response to children and adults showing up on emergency rooms with painful abscesses; identifying and treating an exchange student with tuberculosis, among several others.

             The state run centers also provide immunizations, TB screenings, STD/HIV services. They do not provide primary care. Corbett explains that the closings will help modernize the health system and saving a whopping $3.4 million. The 60 centers cost about $20 million a year. Many in the industry worry that closing the centers will reduce residents access to health care.Michael Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Pa. Department of Health, said that about 70-77% of the operational funds go to leases at state health centers and not to services. He also said that they did a couple thousand immunizations at the Harrisburg Farm Show, while the 3 local centers only did 90 in a month. Joe Sunbathe, superviser at Community Health, explained that certain services they need in the county departments had not been made available to them.

                 What Corbett is doing obviously violates the Pa. Constitution. It also does nothing to help the people of the state. Instead of Corbett taxing Natural Gas Drilling he again goes after the people. Corbetts brand of cronyism is blatantly obvious, he and the Republicans have an agenda and it is forcing Pa. down into the dumps. It is another case of Republicans not liking something and throwing a hussy fit. We need to vote Corbett out in 2014.

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The Right to Bear Arms Act in Pennsylvania.

                Pennsylvania House Bill 357 was introduced by Daryl Metcalfe (R). It is an act providing that any Federal law which attempts to register, restrict or ban a firearm or limit the size of a magazine of a firearm in this Commonwealth shall be unenforceable in this in Commonwealth and imposing penalties. The supporters of this act cite Article 1 Section 21 of the Pa. Constitution which clearly states the right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the state shall not be questioned. It is called the Right to Bear Arms Act. If the law is enacted it would mean that anyone, including Federal agents, who try to enforce any type of gun control restrictions within state borders would face arrest and be charged with a felony offense.

                Opponents of the bill are citing the Supremacy Clause for the proposition that Federal laws are supreme and only Federal courts can say otherwise. The Supremacy Clause states that U.S. Constitution, Federal statutes and U.S. treaties and the supreme law of the land. The text provides that these are highest forms of law in the U.S legal system and mandates that all state judges must follow Federal law when a conflict arises between Federal law and either states Constitution or state law of any state. The Supremacy Clause only applies if Congress is acting in pursuit of its constitutionally authorized powers. Federal laws are valid and supreme so as those laws were adopted in pursaunce of, that is consistent with, the Constitution. Nullification is the legal theory that the states have the rights to nullify or invalidate Federal law which they view as being unconstitutional or Federal laws that they view as having exceeded Congesses Constitutional authorized power. The,supreme court rejected this nullification, that under Article III of the Constitution, the power to declare Federal laws unconstitutional has been delegated to Federal courts and that states do not have authority to nullify Federal laws.

               So for Pennsylvania lawmakers to throw a Federal agent in jail for enforcing Federal laws is actually breaking Constitutional law. So state legislatures are saying that Federal law trumping state law is unconstitutional. To which I argue does that not invalidate the Constitution of the U.S. The Federal government governs states as a whole. If you decide to part from the U.S. Constitution you are breaking the laws of the land and,should be aressted. Government should then have the right to cut off funding to a state government that refuses to follow Constitutional law.Republicans claim to be its protectors, but Democrats work harder to preserve it. Just because you dont like a law doesnt mean you dont have to follow it.

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Governor Tom Corbetts pension reform plan.

             Governor Tom Corbetts administration touted pension reforms as one of the highlights of his new Pennsylvania budgets. Bit his plan has the potential to balloon the already $41 billion unfunded liability by applying new artificial collars to how much the state must pay into the system. But those collars allow Corbett to rehabitate his miserly reputation prior to his bid for reelection.

           The currents crisis in pension funding is because the state failed to pay its share of pension costs, creating the unfunded liability. It is important now because the artificial collars are slowly being lifted to pay off the debt in an orderly manner outlined in Act120 in 2010. This year the state pays 11.5% of payroll for SERS and 12.4% to PSERS. Next year those payments will rise to 16% and 16.75% of payroll and the rates will continue to rise until payments peak at 28% of payroll in 2019, at which time the rates will stay in place for several years before beginning to decline.

              He wants to put state abd school employees into a seperate retirement system that resembles a private sector 401k. He also wants to lower the multiplier used to calculate employee pensions from 2.5% to 2.0% to keep the Public School Employees Retirement System and State Employees Retirement System viable. He is also trying to limit the amount by which the commonwealth employer contributions can be increased.

                In 2000 PSERS was funded at 123.8%, a decade later it was at 69.2%. The governor says the decline can only be fixed by abadoning the defined-benefit plan and replacing it with a 401k for new employees. This puts the investment risk on the emloyee while more than doubling the needed lifetime employee contributions. More than 70% of the PSERS value comes from return on investment. The networth of the pension was hit by $15 billiin during the recession.

              Some are questioning the constitutionality of this because of it breaking a contracts. People are also worried about balancing a budget on something that might be thrown out in court. I further question why the highest paid governor in the country doesnt take a pay cut as a show of good will. We are also in the top 10 highest paid legislatures in the country. If either took a pay cut it would help towards the budget and a show of goid will. But they are protected by the Pa. Constitution where the pension plan is protected by the U.S. Constitution.

              Why didnt Corbett try doing any of this in previous budgets, just the one before reelection. I truly question thus mans motives because if he wanted to straighten out our budget Pa. would be taxing Natural Gas Drillers and using the severance tax with them. That alone would create enough money to avoid education cuts. But I think we will find out in the future what exactly is happening there.

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